He’s the most amazing, smart, sweet, loving, gorgeous, special little guy.
He also has ADHD with Gifted. That means that he is extremely energetic (hyper), talks a mile a minute, and has trouble controlling his emotions and his impulses. It also means that he’s extraordinarily creative, an out-of-the-box thinker, and smarter than anyone I’ve ever met.
Little J is on medication for his ADHD. We’re not shy or ashamed to say that, and we don’t want him ever to be ashamed of who he is. Its a fact of life for him.
How Does He Feel?
We say his thoughts look like the ‘before’ scene in hoarders, and the medication makes them look like the ‘after’. As he says, when he takes his pill, he ‘CAN’ and when he doesn’t take his pill, he ‘can’t. Another way he describes it is, when he doesn’t take his pill, his ‘brains are turned off’.
I know that there are differing opinions around medicating kids for ADHD. In fact, I personally am not a big fan of any pharmaceutical intervention unless absolutely necessary. But, after exhausting both ourselves, and our options, when he was 9 years old we took the plunge into the Ritalin world.
Now I also know there are those who believe in a more natural approach. However, I didn’t realize that this natural point-of-view was also accompanied by a cupful of vigilante-ism combined with a spoonful of mother-guilt and a sprinkling of jerkness.
My Problem is Judgy People
Last week, I saw a post on Twitter that read, “Are you a MOM who medicates your kid? Then Read this.” Of course, I clicked the link. (And I’m not providing the link so you can go read their obnoxious CRAP) After all, I am a Mom who medicates my kid. Apparently, I’m also a bad mom who is misinterpreting a clinically diagnosed disorder that can be found in the Psychiatric DSM for what’s really just ‘normal childhood misbehaviour combined with a bad diet.’ Are you fricking KIDDING ME? Apparently, if I would just allow him to exercise more and cut the sugar and additives out of his diet then all would be well. I’ve been living with attitudes like this one for a long time, and I’m just about fed up!
I do agree that there are many kids who would respond very well to non-chemical therapies. My son’s psychiatrist told us that 80% of kids on ADHD meds are misdiagnosed or over- medicated. (By the way, its this non-intervention attitude that attracts us to her). My boy however, is in that 20% who is correctly diagnosed and needs the medication to be successful both socially and academically.
You Live My Life
I would humbly ask the author of the article if they have ever watched their child cry himself to sleep because someone told their kid: “Don’t play with Little J,he’s bad”, or because he didn’t get a (or any) party invitation(s). Has their child missed out on school programming because he couldn’t control his impulses and whacked another kid with a chair? Have they been afraid to drop their child off for playdates because they don’t know what he’ll do when he’s there, or waited in dread for that phone call from the mom or from the school? I’d like to know if they’ve ever been thrown out of the free program at the library, or asked to leave a store. Have they ever seen their child colour another’s face with a sharpie to look like a Power Ranger because ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time.’ (That one is a tiny bit funny and creative. ) Have they been that women we all look at in the store and think, “Can’t she control her child?”
My Point is..
Please don’t judge or impose your values on me and try and make me feel bad if I must choose differently than you would. If you want to tell me about other options, I am open to hearing them (Hence my clicking on the link), but guilt and finger-pointing will get you nowhere. Remember that old proverb “Don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.” It’s true. Actually, maybe I should sent Litttle J over to the author’s house for a few days without his Concerta and see how they fare . Hmm, now that’s an idea!